Grosse Pointe schools officials: Lead, copper levels ‘allowable’

GROSSE POINTE — Grosse Pointe Public Schools officials announced today that tests for lead and copper in the water at some new sites in schools where previously high levels were found are within allowable levels.

Rebecca Fannon, community relations specialist for the district, said testers took samples from fountains and faucets in the schools that weren’t sampled during the initial round of testing in each building. The results showed lead and copper levels below what the Environmental Protection Agency considers the threshold for taking action: 1,300 parts per billion for copper and 15 parts per billion for lead.

The most recent tests were conducted at the school’s administration building (which was previously untested), Pierce Middle School, Derfer Elementary School and Ferry Elementary School.

Pierce and Derfer were among six schools that had initial elevated levels of lead and copper. The others were Barnes Early Childhood Center, Brownell Middle School, Kerby Elementary School and Maire Elementary School.

At Ferry, a reporting error prompted the retesting. Officials never believed the school had high lead or copper levels, Fannon said.

Faucets and sinks where high lead or copper levels were found earlier have already been replaced. Problematic drinking fountains have been shut down.

Since the first round of tests, the following fixtures have been replaced: the water faucets in the teacher’s lounge and room C7 at Brownell; the kitchen sinks at Defer, Kerby and Maire; and the faculty lounge sink at Barnes. New samples from those sites were drawn over the weekend for re-testing. The results should be available in about three weeks, Fannon said.

“All of the sinks (where high lead or copper levels were found) have been replaced,” Fannon said. “We’re still waiting for the (new) drinking fountains to come in. The fountains that were found to have high levels were disconnected before school started last week.”

The first round of testing was conducted over the district’s spring break.

Overall, just 10 of the 130 samples tested in the district’s 15 schools were above the EPA action levels during the first round of testing, officials said. The EPA’s threshold for taking action is 1,300 parts per billion for copper and 15 parts per billion for lead.

In most cases where the first-draw sample showed elevated levels of lead or copper, the levels were below federal standards after the two-minute flush sample was taken

Testing Engineers & Consultants, Inc. is doing the tests.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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